Thanks to Elias Mahmoudi’s unfortunate injury and Superlek Kiatmoo9 exiting to main event ONE 165 against Takeru Segawa, Oh Ho Taek now gets the biggest opportunity of his career on Friday, Jan. 12, at ONE Fight Night 18.
The 30-year-old will battle fourth-ranked featherweight contender Shamil Gasanov in the event’s headlining bout in the hopes of leaving an impression and move into the title picture.
With the stakes rising by being on the marquee, Oh is ready to square off against the Russian grappler.
“While my opponent is strong, I’m more motivated to win against a stronger opponent than I would be against a weaker one,” he told ONE.
Oh prides himself on being a complete martial artist. However, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t thought about the prospect of beating Gasanov at his own game.
Even still, the South Korean star is cautious enough to know he cannot force the issue, and he’ll only grapple with “Cobra” when he feels more comfortable inside the ring.
“Although I’m an all-rounder In this match, I want to see who’s better at grappling, which is Gasanov’s strength,” the South Korean stated.
“I’ll want to take it to the ground once my body warms up, and I’d like to see who’s better there. I’ll persistently grapple to see who’s better until the end.”
Pride was Gasanov’s downfall in his last outing against Garry Tonon. The previously unbeaten Russian wanted to prove he was a better ground artist than the BJJ legend, but he was eventually tapped out.
Oh will not fall to one of the deadly sins. Although he wishes to prove his grappling against the Russian, he is more than fine in exploiting what he perceives to be Gasanov’s biggest weakness – striking.
“He’s strong and known as a wrestling grappler. I think his striking is still lacking. It seems like grappling is all he’ll have for this match,” the 30-year-old said.
“He’ll probably push with his strong wrestling right from the start. I plan to counter him.”
The totality of his offerings is why Oh believes he has the edge in this matchup.
He’ll be looking to end proceedings before the final bell chimes Jan. 12, but is more than willing to grind it out until the bitter end to walk out of Bangkok, Thailand’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium as a top contender in the heated featherweight MMA division.
“In terms of striking, I believe I have a longer reach with kicks and punches, and I have more weapons. My kicks, takedowns, and grappling are all dangerous,” Oh said.
“I’ll be looking for a finish, but I’m also considering a decision since MMA has many variables.”
ONE Fight Night 18 airs live at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on Prime Video. The event is free for all Amazon Prime subscribers based in the U.S. and Canada.
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